May 9 - June 28, 2013

Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery

Jim Blythe’s “Pictures of the Floating World,” is a series of macro photographs of various materials suspended in bottles of oil.  “Even before I started this,” Blythe says, “I was interested in close-ups and the abstractions that arise from an uncommon view of a common subject.”  The series was initially inspired by a gift:  a bottle filled with chiles and spices suspended in olive oil that he placed on his kitchen windowsill.  “I noticed how beautiful it looked in the strong backlight of the winter morning sun,” he observes.
“In the next three years, what began as a few pictures of this bottle turned into over three hundred photographs,” Blythe continues.  “I began creating my own bottles using found objects like insects that died in my pool, flowers, twigs, slices from fruits and vegetables, marbles and stones, pieces of fabric, and so on.”  He prefers using natural sunlight “since nothing else can produce the same intense yet diffuse lighting.”

A professor of medieval history at the University of Memphis, Blythe often picks titles for his work from Hindu or Greek mythology, poetry, literature, music, or other people’s art.  In addition to its literal meaning, the series title alludes to Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo period (1603-1868) known as ukiyo-e, “Pictures of the Floating World.”

On The Beach

(Above) "On The Beach," by Jim Blythe


M1 Jim Blythe

(Above) "M1" by Jim Blythe


Molten Pewter Surf

(Above) " Molten Pewter Surf," by Jim Blythe

Free Admission
Gallery Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

  For more information on the exhibit contact:
Dana Everts-Boehm at 615-532-0169, or e-mail: dana.everts-boehm@tn.gov